Title

The Role of Emotions: Helping Behavior and Rape Myth Acceptance

Presenter Information

Kaylee NoelFollow
Jessica HodgesFollow

Academic Level at Time of Presentation

Senior

Major

Psychology

Minor

Non-Profit Leadership Studies

List all Project Mentors & Advisor(s)

Dr. Marie Karlsson

Presentation Format

Oral Presentation

Abstract/Description

This study builds on previous research that found that elevating emotions through observing altruistic stimuli correlated to an increased in volunteer participation (Schnall, Roper & Fessler, 2010). The purpose of the current study was to apply this idea to in order to change people’s perspective on sexual assault victims. In part 1, participants completed an online survey about volunteer experiences, prosocial behaviors, and rape myths. In part 2, participants were randomly assigned to either watch a video of prosocial behavior (“Oprah condition”) or a video of the ocean (control condition). It was hypothesized that individuals who were exposed to emotionally elevating stimuli (Oprah condition) would show a reduction in acceptance of rape myths from part 1 to part 2 while individuals in the control condition would not (Ocean condition). Forty-five participants completed both parts of this study and were included in the current analyses (82% White; 82% female; mean age = 18.73, SD =1.01). Participants in the Oprah condition rated their video as more emotionally engaging compared to the control condition (ps < .001). Results from a mixed model ANOVA showed a significant interaction between experimental condition (Oprah or Ocean) and rape myth acceptance scores, Wilks’ Lambda = .82, F (1, 39) = 8.88, p = .005 partial eta squared = .19. As hypothesized, only participants who watched Oprah evidenced a significant reduction in their acceptance of rape myths. These results suggest that elevating people’s emotions might be helpful when trying to reduce myths associated with sexual assault.

Affiliations

Psychology: Completed Projects

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The Role of Emotions: Helping Behavior and Rape Myth Acceptance

This study builds on previous research that found that elevating emotions through observing altruistic stimuli correlated to an increased in volunteer participation (Schnall, Roper & Fessler, 2010). The purpose of the current study was to apply this idea to in order to change people’s perspective on sexual assault victims. In part 1, participants completed an online survey about volunteer experiences, prosocial behaviors, and rape myths. In part 2, participants were randomly assigned to either watch a video of prosocial behavior (“Oprah condition”) or a video of the ocean (control condition). It was hypothesized that individuals who were exposed to emotionally elevating stimuli (Oprah condition) would show a reduction in acceptance of rape myths from part 1 to part 2 while individuals in the control condition would not (Ocean condition). Forty-five participants completed both parts of this study and were included in the current analyses (82% White; 82% female; mean age = 18.73, SD =1.01). Participants in the Oprah condition rated their video as more emotionally engaging compared to the control condition (ps < .001). Results from a mixed model ANOVA showed a significant interaction between experimental condition (Oprah or Ocean) and rape myth acceptance scores, Wilks’ Lambda = .82, F (1, 39) = 8.88, p = .005 partial eta squared = .19. As hypothesized, only participants who watched Oprah evidenced a significant reduction in their acceptance of rape myths. These results suggest that elevating people’s emotions might be helpful when trying to reduce myths associated with sexual assault.